Friday, 14 April 2017


This is a term that I've never used before in my previous employments. It refers to taking passengers beyond their station, usually against their will. This can happen for many reasons - be they asleep or too slow in getting their luggage and leaving, for example.

Of the three traction types I sign, all but the 158s have decent aisles, down which you can see the whole train and so you can be reasonably confident that everyone who wants to leave has done so before you close the doors. Sadly, the 158s are designed so that from the rear coach you can't see any further than the front of that coach.

I was working a train from Nottingham to Skegness that was formed of 2 x 158s, so four coaches in total. We were too long to be accommodated onto Aslockton and Bingham station platforms, so at these locations, I'd open just the front door. I made this very clear on a number of occasions before departing Nottingham. To complicate matters further, we'd effectively 'pinched' this four-car set from a Liverpool-Peterborough train, which was filthy inside, as plenty of Grand National-goers had returned on the service.

On departure from Nottingham I got a bin bag, donned some rubber gloves and went through the train making things a little cleaner for all those on board. I was near the front of the third coach when we arrived at our first station, Netherfield, and at the front of the second coach when we called at our second, Radcliffe. I noticed a man and a child board the rear coach here. On I went and almost got to the front of the first coach as we approached Bingham. I had no access to the public address system, but I'd made it very clear at Nottingham what the procedure was at this station and Aslockton. I opened the front door and a couple left and four boarded.

"Buzz-buzz" and off we went. As Aslockton is just three minutes down the line I remained where I was and chatted to the people now stood at the front who wanted to alight here. Once in Aslockton station, I disposed of my bind bag on the platform and said goodbye to those leaving. The man and girl who'd boarded at Radcliffe left and the man said they'd attempted to leave at Bingham, but the doors didn't open. Then it struck me that he'd not heard my announcement. I apologised and he said not to worry as we were only just beyond Bingham and that he had arranged for a lift to get him back.

I felt bad, but had rightly adopted what my company call the Safety-Service-Revenue protocol. That is, Safety is number 1, then service, then revenue. A clean train, devoid of detritus (Service) is more important than chasing fares, hence my decision to clean the train before checking tickets. Inso doing,  I'd 'missed' the man and girl who'd boarded at Radcliffe to go one stop to Bingham. Whoops! I reported the incident to my Incident Controller.

On the return journey we called at Bingham after Grantham, and again the train is longer than the platform so I could only open the front door of the front coach here. On departure from Grantham, where quite a few boarded from ECML services ex London, I made my standard, thorough announcement concerning this. Three or so minutes before Bingham, I made the announcement again and then walked the full length of the train so that I was positioned at the front upon arrival. One passenger left and none boarded.

Since the resignalling of this line in December 2015, Bingham has a starting signal in the direction of Nottingham, and even when you're late, you have to wait for the signal to 'clear' (turn yellow or green). I was chatting to the driver while we were waiting for this to happen and when it did, I closed the door and off we went.

Heading to the back cab a lady came rushing up to me in some distress. She wanted to leave at Bingham but didn't know where the front of the train was. I'd not come across this concept before. She saw a Coach A sticker on the windows of the coach she was in and so assumed that as A was the first letter of the alphabet, it must be the front coach. In this instance, Coach A was the rear coach, which wasn't even platformed. The next stop was Nottingham and the lady said she would arrange for a lift home.

Again I had to report this to the Incident Controller. I was a little more content on this occasion that I'd done all I could.

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